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Ergonomics and economics, dilemma's and chances

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Author: Koningsveld, E.A.P. · Thé, K.A.
Source:Proceedings of the XIVth Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association and 44th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Association, 'Ergonomics for the New Millennnium', 29 July 2000 through 4 August 2000, San Diego, CA, Conference code: 62639, 621-624
Identifier: 235772
doi: doi:10.1177/154193120004403101
Keywords: Workplace · Accident prevention · Construction industry · Data reduction · Employment · Health care · Mathematical models · Musculoskeletal system · Personnel · Psychophysiology · Skin · Occupational disability · Occupational injuries · Ergonomics


Ergonomists aim to prevent occupational injuries and to improve workers' well being and their performance. Many ergonomists feel the need to prove the benefits of their work. Next to evaluation with questionnaires, economical benefits of their work should be most welcome to demonstrate their positive contribution. However, mathematical models are scarce, and calculations are not as simple as they should like. In the Netherlands two studies were carried out to estimate the macro costs of (poor) working conditions. Macro costs are considered to be the total of all costs for employers, employees and costs to society. The latter ones are the costs for social insurances and the government. The first study focused at all workers nationwide, the second one at the building and construction industry only. These studies taught us a lot about the feasibilities and impossibilities to make calculations.